Monday, April 04, 2011
by Kate Douglas and Aubrey Ross and Eve Vaughn
Cover art: Karen Fox
Genre(s): Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Theme(s): Ménage, Bisexual and More, Shapeshifters
Series: Agency of Extraordinary Mates Multi-Author (Collections)
Page Count: 261
4Saken: Tegor, Rain, and Geho won't let the opportunity to reclaim their woman slip through their fingers. They'll do whatever it takes to win her back. And with the mood Shelby's in, it's going to take a lot.
Chasing Dragons: Ex-bodyguard Lester Ondáge and Elven manservant Tady O'Shea are living and loving in the land of the Fae, and all is right with their world... or it would be if Lester could fly. Tady and Lester embark on a journey to the Seat of Magic to ask a boon of She Who Rules -- that she turn Lester into a shape-shifting Elf just like Tady.
Carousel: The Carousel's owner, Evette, is fascinated by the Dark Elf Lyell. He stirs her passion in a way she's never experienced. But Evette has a secret, she's a Nocturnal Dichotomy. How will the other half of her being, easy going day-dweller Aurora, react to Lyell's intense sexuality?
Snow Blind: Dezmon is determined to claim feisty Sekarrah as his mate. He introduces her to a drink called Snow Blind, and the games begin. When passion and ambition collide, can two stubborn Elves find their happy ending?
Agency of Extraordinary Mates Vol. 4 (Collection)
Excerpt from 4Saken by Eve Vaughn
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Eve Vaughn
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"They have got to be friggin' kidding me. There's no way I'm setting foot on that godforsaken island again. They can kiss my ass." Shelby Morgenson threw the letter down on the coffee table and paced her living room floor.
The nerve of them! How dare they send her another invitation to Chimera! What made the proprietors think she'd want to give them another try? To think that a little over a year ago she'd been so happy. But then her dreams had been dashed just like that.
It was hard not to think of the heartache and betrayal she'd suffered, even after all this time. Shelby remembered the first time she'd gotten a letter like this one. It said she'd won a trip to an all expenses paid resort. All she'd have to do in return was rate their services for a travel brochure.
Her family warned her that what seemed too good to be true probably was, but being the only sibling without a family of her own was lonely. She'd needed to get away and sort herself out. She figured even if staying on the island did cost her something, it would be worth the stay.
"What's wrong, sis?" Cindy asked, patting her three-month-old daughter on the back, trying to get her to burp.
Shelby handed her the letter and watched her sister frown as she glanced over the contents. "Is this something you're considering?"
"Hell no. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I'm staying away from that godforsaken island. Besides, I just got approved for a loan to open my own nature shop. I have too much on my plate to deal with that crap right now -- or ever."
"Well, I can't really say that I blame you, hon. You were handed a pretty raw deal. For that year we had no word from you, we thought the worst. Now the thought of you going to that place again to meet God knows what is scary. They could whisk you off to some heathen place, and who knows how long it will be before we hear from you this time."
"You're preaching to the choir, Cindy. I want nothing to do with Chimera Island or its inhabitants."
"Good girl. This is probably the best decision. Besides, from what you've told me, those... creatures over there turned on you. If you went back, you could meet something or someone far worse."
Shelby rolled her eyes. She loved her older sister, but once Cindy got on a rant it was hard to stop her. "Yeah, Cindy, I know."
"And another thing. I'm still a little miffed at you for not giving me the full story. I thought we were close. You used to tell me everything."
"I did when we were kids, but now we have separate lives. You have your own family to worry about." Just then her niece, Emily, let out a loud belch. A content smile spread on her cherubic face.
"That's Mommy's good girl," Cindy cooed, smoothing down Emily's flaxen curls.
Shelby held out her arms. "Let me hold her."
Cindy handed over the gurgling baby, mindful of Emily's head and neck. Shelby's heart melted as her niece rested a soft cheek against hers. Holding the baby close, she inhaled the fresh powder scent. She walked over to her couch and sat down to tickle the baby's tummy. "Hey, pretty girl."
Emily blew a spit bubble and waved a starfish-shaped hand in the air.
Shelby released an inward sigh. When would it be her turn? At thirty-five she was tired of being the doting aunt. She wanted to have a couple of rug rats of her own. She supposed, if she really wanted to, she could visit a sperm bank, but the traditionalist in her found the thought of having a turkey baster as her child's father distasteful.
She wanted a husband, some animals and the proverbial white picket fence -- the whole nine yards. Shelby realized hers wasn't the most modern attitude, and the feminists would have a field day with her, but there it was. She'd already accomplished so much in her life, earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in forestry, the outdoors being her passion. She'd traveled the world, had her dream job, and was now starting her own business. What was wrong with wanting to share all of that with someone?
"She's gotten so big since the last time you brought her over here, and her features are getting more distinctive."
Cindy plopped down next to her. "Yes, she is adorable. I'm annoyed that I was the one who carried her for nine months but she looks like Bob, right down to her smile. I think I was just an incubator. You know, after four kids, you'd think I'd have one who looks like me," she sighed with disgust.
"Hey, the man has super sperm."
Cindy rolled her eyes. "Super sperm my hiney. You should see him walking around the house like a rooster with his chest all puffed out."
"But you love him."
A content smile touched the older woman's pink lips. "Yes, I do, and I pray that you'll find a man who'll love and respect you for who you are. You're smart, beautiful, and kind."
Shelby laughed with an ironic titter. "I thought I'd found that, but I guess I was wrong."
"You never really went into detail about what happened when you went to live with those men. That's another thing I found a little shocking about the whole fiasco you got yourself involved in. What manner of people were they that allowed a woman to be with three men? While I'm sure having three guys is nice fantasy material, the reality has to be a whole lot different."
The reality had been much better, until things went horribly wrong, she wanted to say, but instead Shelby said, "I hardly believe what happened to me either. When I came back, I had to fake amnesia for the sake of the press and the others because no way would anyone believe what I'd gone through. You're the only one who knows anything about my experiences on Chimera and Laiocean. If I told the others, they'd have me committed."
"I'm still debating whether I should have you committed, but even as a kid you were never one to make up wild stories."
"I don't think I could make up anything like this if I tried. Things that we thought were just stories to scare and amuse us when we were children are real. Vampires, Werewolves, Incubi, Aliens, Demons, and things I can't even name roamed that island freely. It was like a big Halloween party but everyone wore beach gear."
"Tell me about the three men... creatures you were with?"
Shelby shifted her now sleeping niece in her arms. "What's there to say? I fell in love with them and they broke my heart."
"All of them?"
"Yes. It's so weird because I used to think you can only love one person, but I loved them all equally and intensely. There was something special about every one of them. Tegor was the tall, dark warrior. They were all virile, alpha males, but Tegor... he would throw me against the wall, pull my hair back, take what he wanted, and make me like it. Then there was Rain -- his smile was contagious. He always knew what to say to bring my spirits up and he made me laugh. Geho was the silent, tender one. We could communicate without even speaking."
Shelby's mind drifted to the time when she'd first met them. She'd been on the beach and couldn't quite get her suntan lotion on her entire back. That's when three gorgeous men approached her to offer their services. Each one of them had been tall and broad, with aquamarine eyes. Tegor had been the dark one with long hair the color of a moonless sky, shaggy and wild. Rain's stick straight brown hair rested on his shoulders while Geho had a mop of dark blond curls giving him an almost angelic look.
With just one glance, her bikini bottom had become instantly wet. They were so gorgeous she didn't even notice their tails until later on in their acquaintance when they revealed to her that they were shifters. Hesitant at first about being with three men at once, Shelby soon found herself falling hard for each one of them.
Cindy cleared her throat to get Shelby's attention. "Hmm. Except for the freaky sex part, I have all of that in Bob. Why do you need three guys to provide you with what one good man can do?"
"It's hard to explain. They all shared a lot of the same qualities, but each one of them brought something to the table. As for finding a guy with all those qualities, come on. What world do you live in? As wonderful as you claim Bob is, don't you sometimes complain that you wish you two were more intimate at times and you wish he'd do more around the house? No one is perfect and neither were they, but the connection was undeniable."
"Until they turned their backs on you at the first sign of trouble. Some men they turned out to be."